Culture

Green Up, Chill Out

This week’s gardening music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKCeEZ2v2h4

For Part 1 of this gardening series, sprouting seeds, click here.

When I was searching for seeds on Amazon, I noticed that the same companies that offered the highest-rated herb variety packs also sold “survival garden” seed packages. These packs contain a selection of hardy vegetables that provide a range of important nutrients, the perfect addition to your survival bunker. Of course, they aren’t much help if you don’t know how to grow them.

A simple herb garden won’t sustain you in case of a global disaster, but it is a good way to learn basic gardening skills. Most common herbs go easy on the gardener — Mediterranean herbs like thyme and oregano don’t require a lot of water, so a day or two of forgetting your new calling won’t kill them. Woody herbs like lavender and rosemary are difficult to start from seed, but once they’re well-established they’re extremely hardy. Leafy herbs like basil take minimal tending — just put them in a sunny spot and they’ll fill your garden or kitchen with beautiful fragrance even when you’re not cooking.

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In the last post, I tried something new, and soaked my seeds before planting them. That left me with the unexpected challenge of figuring out how to fish the seeds out of the water in each jar. In the end, I tore a napkin in half and held it over the mouth of the jar while I poured the water through it.

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Now I had a new conundrum — where would I find the patience to scrape all these soaking, sticky seeds off the wet napkin? No worries, I just planted the napkin, with the seeds on it, in my terracotta pots. The napkin will decompose as the plants grow.

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Two weeks later my seeds have sprouted. They definitely came up faster than they have in the past when I’ve planted the seeds without soaking them first. A great lesson learned, like most gardening lessons, very slowly.

three pots